Blogs > Cliopatria > Cambodian King Endorses Gay Marriage in Handwritten French Blog

Feb 21, 2004 6:56 am

Cambodian King Endorses Gay Marriage in Handwritten French Blog

Yes, it's true. AP reports"After watching TV images of gay weddings in San Francisco, Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk said Friday that homosexual couples should be allowed to get married." And this is confirmed by the King's website, which posts his handwritten notes in French, complete with editorial marks. My French skills are vestigial: I am 98% sure that the note does start the way AP says it does, but I'd be grateful if someone who actually reads the language with some facility would either post here or forward to me a translation of the whole note, which seems to go into some detail about the justification for legalizing gay marriage and general sexual identity tolerance in a liberal democracy.

As the AP points out, he's a constitutional monarch with no actual authority, but apparently no restraint, either.

The handwritten notes, most of which appear to be formal greetings and traditional monarchical proclamations of pride and attention, had a charm, a warmth, that surprised me. I think I've gotten too used to computer texts, particularly the blog form, which is starting to run together. Sure, people use different backgrounds, they have different blogrolls, but fundamentally the blog is a very limited form. If you could combine the handwritten image with an embedded searchable text, the blog could be a truly personal creation, but still take advantage of the searchable-linkable technology of the web. I suppose I'm thinking of the amazing variety of book-design work being done by artists (which the National Museum of Women in the Arts showcases regularly) as a model for a more powerful union of author, text and aesthetic. Of course, my handwriting isn't anything anyone would want to read a lot of, but it's pretty distinctively my own. Perhaps if I were king of something.....

And I ran across a quotation today, which I'm surprised I've never run across before. I'm a collector of quotations about history (not quite as focused as the Szasz collection; I include more general interest quotations) which I sprinkle on my class handouts, sometimes as counterpoint, but mostly just because. Anyway, I'm surprised that I'd never run across "Omnia mutantur; nihil interit." [All things are changed; nothing dies] -- Ovid (Metamorphoses 15,165), though in the source I read it was translated as"Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost." It captures the essence of the flaw in the anti-gay-marriage arguments. More about that later.

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Richard Henry Morgan - 2/21/2004

The piece starts out with the title "Droleries", which is usually meant to convey drollery or buffoonery -- as though he's not serious. Then again, "drole" can mean strange, curious, queer. Perhaps there's a vernacular meaning consistent with your interpretation.

It's hard to read his writing, but he seems to be saying that since the 2nd Khmer kingdom has chosen, since 1993, to be "liberal democracy", then it must allow these "legal" marriages. [scare quotes in original]

He may be writing in the ironic mode, as a criticism of liberal democracy. He does go on to add, as an afterthought, that as far as he is concerned, he respects gays and lesbians -- it isn't their fault!!

I would send you an entire translation, as you requested, but I can't make it all out. I just think there's a possibility, based on little bits of evidence here and there, that he's being facetious.

Ralph E. Luker - 2/21/2004

Jonathan, Do you not claim to be the Cliopatriarch of Hawaii? Is the grandeur of it not sufficient?

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